Community Group Study Notes
Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s Teaching.
Share a time in your life when it felt like God was doing one thing but He was actually doing something else. (For ex.: It seemed like God wasn’t answering your prayer, when He was actually answering it in a better way.)
Read the following: Romans 8:7; 3:23; 6:23; Revelation 20:11-15. What do these verses tell us about the condition of our lives and what we deserve without Jesus? Read John 1:12; 5:24; 1 John 3:1. How should these truths impact our daily perspective now that we have Jesus?
Look at Column #1 and Column #2 from your Sunday notes. Have you ever felt like you were in Column #1? Why did you feel that way? What can help us to remember that as believers we are forever in Column #2? How should that make a difference in your life this week?
Well, good morning, everyone, especially to our online folks who are joining us here today. Really, really excited to have you here. It's really, really cool to be live, at The Chapel Cheektowaga Campus.
There. See? Now, you probably need to know this, though, that I did kind of make sure I told everyone to be on their best behavior, okay? So, no mosh pits. No body surfing. No crowding the stage. Because that's what they normally do on a Sunday. They're probably thinking right now, "What the heck is going on at Cheektowaga?" Listen, no. Now, we do have some live ones, though. Let me just say that. But, here's the deal. Just a bunch of sweet folks here at the Cheektowaga Campus that love the Lord and would hope maybe at some point in time that you would come join us here. So again, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
I've really, really, really been enjoying this series here, Stories Jesus Told. Just a couple of weeks, maybe you were here, maybe you weren't, but a couple weeks ago, I had an opportunity to share the story, the privilege to share the story, of the wise and foolish builders. I was actually able to even bring on stage here something, one of my favorite passions, which is skateboarding. You're probably saying, "Now, how in the world does skateboarding fit into the wise and foolish builders?" Well, you'll just have to search it online and find it, but you'll see the whole deal.
At the 11 o'clock service, I've got my deck here. I'm standing on my deck. I've got myself positioned well. I'm going through the steps to actually do this. And the 11 o'clock service, they were egging me on like crazy. They were like, "Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!." I'm sitting there, "Yeah, Leroy. Yeah, Leroy. Yeah. Do it. Do it. Do it." And I'm, "Leroy, they're just looking for good footage. Do not, I repeat, do not do that." So, I didn't do it. I didn't fall into pressure. But, I knew they were just looking for some good footage to post on YouTube when things went horribly wrong.
But, see, here's the deal. This morning, as we continue in the stories, I'm going to get to bring in another one of my favorite passions, which is fishing, so that's cool. I get to do that. We're going to be in Matthew chapter 13 in just a few moments. You can begin to find your way there. If you're kind of new to this whole church thing and new to the Bible, Matthew is the first chapter in the New Testament. You've got the Old Testament, and two-thirds of the way you'll see a divider, and that'll be the New Testament. You can make your way there, and we're going to jump in there in just a couple of moments here.
But before we do that, let's kind of set the scene for Matthew 13. We're going to do that by going back to chapter 12. In chapter 12, Jesus is in the synagogue, and he's teaching and healing. This is something he did all the time, teaching and healing. After his time was there, he had to leave the synagogue pretty abruptly because he became aware of the fact that the Pharisees were plotting to kill him. So, it wasn't his time yet. He knew these things, so he left the synagogue. And wherever Jesus went, the crowd followed. I mean, if you're healing and teaching, I mean, the crowds are always following Jesus.
So, he leaves the synagogue, and he goes to a house. He's in this house. And while he's in the house, scripture tells us, again, that he's healing. And as he's healing more people are coming. More people are coming. And while in the house, there's an interaction that Jesus has about who his mother, and brother, and sisters are. So as the crowds continue to grow, Jesus leaves the house, and he goes and he sits out by the lake. Okay, great. He's by the lake. Crowds are continuing to grow. Then, after the crowds continue to grow, he goes into a boat and he sits in the boat, and the crowds continue to grow. And they're standing as Jesus begins. That is the scene where we pick up in chapter 13, that Jesus is in the boat and he's teaching parables again.
Let's go to Matthew 13: 47-50. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into a fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Now, most translations start that verse with the verse with the word again. Some other translations start with once again. And other translations start with other derivations of that right there as well. But ultimately, it lets you know that there's something that has happened before then that you need to be aware of. I say that because this is like a little Bible 101, that words actually matter.
You see, how this passage starts, it leaves reason to believe that something that happened prior to that needs to be taken into the full picture. So if you just happened to pick the Bible up and started at this parable and you see the word again, you'd be wise to say, "Whoa. Before I go any further, let me back up just a little bit to make sure I have the full context." We always want to make sure that we have the full context of what we're reading so that we can avoid the tendency to just grab a piece of scripture and then just run with it without knowing the full context. So, we want to make sure you're doing that.
In the context of verse 47, you need to know that when Jesus taught this right here, when he said that, that the net of the parables, it also included the parable of the hidden treasure. It also include the parable of the weeds, which included the parable of the mustard seed and the yeast, and the parable of the sower. And here's how you know that. If you look at verse 13:1, which we're not going to have on this screen here, it also reads that same day. So you see, when you're slowing down, you're starting to kind of put a frame around what it is that you're reading. So when it says that same day, it means that they're even other things that were taking place that would help gain greater context for what it is that you're going to be working through, right?
So, we're not going to trace it all the way back, but you can kind of see the importance of saying, "Okay. Well, what are we really talking about here? Let me make sure I frame this right so I know that I'm keeping things within the passages that I need to." So, there were other passages prior to 47 to 50 that we just read that need to be taken into account for there.
Here's where that slowing down and that understanding kind of comes in to be. Matthew 51. This is what Jesus says in Matthew 51. "Have you understood all of these things?" So it wasn't just 47 through 50. It was all those parables that were before that that Jesus wanted to make sure that they understand. And I love, I love, love, love the response that the disciples gave Jesus, too. This is what the disciples actually said. "Yes." How many of us have done that before, right? "Did you just understand everything you were ..." "Yeah. I understood it all." That is probably a gross exaggeration of what they are actually capable of. Because when you read even a little bit further, just a couple chapters away from there, Jesus is actually saying to his disciples, "Why are you so dull?" So again, sometimes we do that.
Also, when you slow down, here's what you'll see also. Again, this is kind of the Bible 101. When you slow down just a little bit, you'll also see that none of the other gospels actually have this parable. But, two of the other gospels do have the parable of the sower and the parable of the yeast and the weeds as well. So, why is that? I don't know. But, I tell you this, if the Holy Spirit would have wanted the parable of the net and the other gospels, it would've been there.
So again, take the time. Slow down in your reading. Make sure you're understanding the context of what you're reading. Because when you better understand the context, when you slow down a little bit, you get better clarity, better understanding. And when you have better clarity and better understanding in God's word, that can lead to more faithful obedience, which is what Jesus was looking for. Faithful obedience. So, slow down when you're doing your stuff there. So again, Bible 101.
Back to the passage. This passage here in 47 through 50 and this parable is broken up into two parts. You have the parable part in 47 and 48. Then, in 49 and 50, we have the explanation part. So let's go back first to the parable part, 47 and 48. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw the bad away."
The simple picture is this, right? The simple picture is you got a net that's being cast out into the water. The net hits the water. The net descends. And as it descends, it begins to gather all the fish that are underneath it. Then, at the appropriate time. You pull the net it. They take the net to the shore, and then they begin to separate the fish into what is good and then discard what is left. That's pretty simple. You don't even need to be a fisherman to know that right there.
One of the beautiful things that I like about when Jesus tells a story is that so many of them are so applicable to the life that people are actually experiencing there that it makes that really, really rich in understanding. It's, hey, we understand. This is what they do, so they understand stuff like that.
What I also really appreciate about Jesus is his intentionality. Because we think about it, Jesus was in the house. Then, he went and sat by the lake. Then, he went and sat in the boat. Then, he told all these stories, and then he finished his statement there with a fish parable, so he put it all together. That's just how intentional Jesus is. We're going to talk about that a little bit later. But, that's how intentional you and I need to be as well, thinking ahead of how do we navigate our interactions with people.
So, let's take now the next part of that. "So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." So again, Jesus took this ordinary part of life, and he really communicated, really, an end-time prophecy here, right? The end of age, the end of time when Jesus actually comes, meaning when he returns.
And it's interesting. When you take a look at verses 1 and 2 in 13, we'll go back and you'll see that on the screen here, they use the word sat twice. Here you go. In Matthew 13:1 and 2. "That same day, Jesus went out of the house and sat behind the sea and great crowds gathered about him so that he got into a boat and sat down as the whole crowd stood on the beach." Did you really need to use the word sat twice there? Again, words matter. And many commentators will tell you that what is maybe this is, it's a pre-picture of Jesus seated at the throne while everyone stood where the righteous and the unrighteous are sorted. Interesting, right? As I said, words, words, words matter.
Now, here's the thing about sorting fish. In the end, you don't sort fish by how pretty they are or how ugly they are, and you don't sort fish by how big they are or how small they are. You sort fish based on the quality, what's on the inside of the fish. That is ultimately how you judge fish.
Now, I don't know how many of you here watched the show Wicked Tuna. I could binge watch that show night and day. Now, here's the deal. It's a big waste of time, to be honest with you. Because when you see a guy catch one fish, do you think the next one's going to be any different? It's just another guy catching another fish. But, I could binge watch that show all day and be okay with it, because it's really not that different than watching Say Yes to the Dress all night long either. I'm just saying. Not that I do that. I'm just saying. But, I could watch that show all night long.
So, here's the process, though, when you do that. You got your bluefin tuna, and you have to take a core sample, and you have to take a tail sample. You take those. You put them next to one another. You cut them. They're down on a table. Then, you're looking for the blood line. You're looking for the marble, the caramelization. You're looking for the texture. You're looking for the oil. You're looking for the fat. You're looking for all those things. That is ultimately how you actually judge the quality of the fish.
So while I'm watching the pinwheel catch a 700-pound, 10-foot-long bluefin tuna, it really doesn't matter until they get it into shore and they cut it up, they take their core samples, look at the quality, the characteristics of what's on the inside. Because I've seen 700-pound fish go for $8 a pounds and you're like, "Hey, that's not bad." But, I've seen 400-pound fish go for $25 a pound. So, it's all based on the quality and on the inside.
Spiritually speaking, it's easy for us to be fooled by what we see on the outside. Spiritually speaking, Jesus will not be fooled by what we see on the outside. What he sees is what's on the inside.
Listen to Matthew 7:23 where Jesus talks about "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you are like white-washed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So, you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."
A good question to ask there is, okay, well, then who are the bad fish? Right? Who are the bad fish in this parable? Clearly, the bad fish are those who don't believe in Jesus Christ, those who have never accepted Jesus Christ. Those clearly are the bad fish. But, let's not also forget those false believers, right? Those who claim to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but their lives look nothing like the one they say they serve.
Listen to Matthew here, or Jesus in Matthew 7:21 as Jesus talks about true and false believers. "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Maybe will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?" Then, I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers."
God knows the nature of our heart, and He knows all who are His. And God will not be fooled at all. Maybe if you're taking notes you can jot this down, that the genuineness of my heart towards Jesus reveals the genuineness of my faith.
So you see, this short parable here, it really points to the fact that there will eventually be a day of reckoning. The parable is about an end-time sorting so to speak, right? Now, see, when it comes to the end-time prophecy and end times, I mean you have people who are way over here, and then you have people who are way over here when it comes to the end time. The people over here, man, they talk about it all the time. That's what they're passionate about. They're always sharing it with you, which is good because we need to know that it's there, right?
Then, there are those over here that they don't talk about it a lot. They know that it's there, but ... And you can fall anywhere along that continuum. Probably as you grow in your faith, you might change along that continuum as well. But, the point is this, that I need to be ready whether Jesus comes or whether I go. You can see that on the screen there, that you need to be ready whether Jesus comes or whether I go, right? I mean, there's nothing to say that Jesus couldn't return today, like in nanoseconds. There's nothing to say that that could not happen.
Scripture reminds us that Jesus says that no man knows the day or the hour. No man knows the time. So when man puts it together, when man puts out a post that says, "Hey, I know the day and the time," okay, so either man was right or Jesus was wrong. Where are we going on that one, right? So, no man knows the time. No man knows the hour.
But, just as well if Jesus doesn't come today, there is nothing that says that I won't go today. Nothing that says that. So, I want to be ready whether Jesus comes or whether I go.
You see, essentially, you or I, whether Jesus comes or go, essentially, we're going to pass from here with either our heart that has already been given to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, or we would've already rejected Jesus. And that rejection, that rejection may come as a passive rejection, and that rejection may come as an aggressive rejection, either or. So the person who's actively aggressively, "I don't want to hear anything about you, Jesus. Forget it. It's all bunk. I want to do nothing about it. Walk away from me." Those are the folks that are aggressive about that, and it's crystal clear.
But, there are also those who are passive, those who reject but maybe don't think that it's rejection. Well, I haven't accepted Jesus yet because I'm just not sure. I'm kind of on the fence. I don't know. Maybe. Jesus is clear that you're either for me or against me. So, there is no middle ground that we like to think that there's a middle ground to be on. So, it's either passive or aggressive rejection.
But, here's a deal. God doesn't want you to spend eternity separated from him. He does not want that. And listen to what we read in 2 Peter, "That the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance." He doesn't want you to be separated from Him upon your leaving here or Jesus' coming. He's created you to be in a relationship with Him.
So, maybe you're here or maybe you're in your 20s, in your 30s, and you're saying to yourself, "You know, I'm living my life right now. I'll do this later. I'll do it later. I'm not sure. It's interfering with all the things that I want to do. You're young. Oh, I've got all this time."
Or maybe you're 70 or 80 years old. Maybe you're still rejecting Jesus. Maybe it's a passive rejection or maybe it's an aggressive rejection. Time has gone by. Life has done what life has done, and you're still rejecting Jesus Christ. Maybe you're kind of saying to yourself that, "You know what? I'm just going to wait till later in life," right? You don't know what the mental capacity of your brain will be later in life for you to either understand the gospel, let alone receive it and accept Jesus Christ. You need to do that now today.
You see, the Lord stands at the door and he's knocking. He is knocking on your heart today. If you're here under the sound of my voice, no matter where you are, He is here, and He's knocking on the door of your heart this morning. I can't think that He's not. Because remember, He doesn't want anyone to pass. He doesn't want anyone to perish, so I know that He's knocking. So if He's knocking, man, answer the door. Put your faith, your hope, your trust in Jesus Christ. And you can do that right now if you want.
See, at the end of service, I'm going to give you a little bit of time to kind of to make that decision. But, there is nothing that says you can't do that right now. If you want to accept Jesus right now, give Him your heart. You can even call 1-716-631-2636 and give Jesus your heart right now. We've got prayer partners online that would love to do nothing more than to walk you through that. But, you don't need to wait till the end of service to do that. You do not need to do that whatsoever.
But, I want to pivot here for just a moment. We've just been talking about those who have never accepted Christ, maybe passively or aggressively, and our desire that you would join Jesus today and be on mission with him. But, I want to pivot here to talk about all of us who are believers. I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to answer this question just to yourself. You don't have to raise your hand or anything. Just answer this question right here. Given all that's going on in the world right now, and that's a lot, given all that's going on in your life right now, which is probably a lot as well, have you ever been tempted to say, "Lord Jesus, come"? Lord Jesus, come.
I remember saying that, something to that effect, to a more mature believer one point in my life. Man, I just wished Jesus would come. He said this to me. He goes, "Really?" I don't remember what was going on in my life or the world at that point in time, but he says, "Really? You really want Jesus to come?" I'm like, "Man, sweet Jesus, come." Then, he says, "So you're telling me then that all your family, all your friends, all your neighbors, all your coworkers, which now is ..." We got the coworker part now, but, yeah. We got the worker part, right?
But, back then, when I wasn't in ministry, "So you're saying that all of those folks have, one, heard the gospel and have accepted Jesus Christ?" I'm like, "Well ..." So he says, "Because if that's what you want, Jesus to come now, what you're saying is that you're okay with those folks I just mentioned going to hell." I'm like, "Well, they haven't." He goes, "Then maybe, just maybe, this is what you should be thinking, that you want Jesus to take his sweet time." And even if that means you have to suffer during this waiting, that's fine. Because even while you suffer, you need to make sure that you're out there sharing the gospel with people and giving them the opportunity to hear it and prayerfully accept Jesus Christ." So yeah, let him take his sweet time. Talk about put in your place real quick, right?
There's a possibility, as he was saying, that those folks, they may pass way before Jesus comes. So that's why you need to make sure that you're on mission sharing the gospel with folks. Many commentators would actually, as you talk about this net parable, many commentators would say that the net that this parable talks about, it's really the spreading of the gospel, of the gospel of God's story or redemption, and restitution, and reconciliation, that it is a net that's being cast to all humanity so that none will perish. That is the net that's being cast.
I remember not too long, maybe about five or six years ago, maybe a little bit longer than that, I was on a four-day fishing charter out in the ocean on the Annie Girl charter out of Alabama. And when I say four days, I mean four days. It was four days, 24 hours a day. The moment we set on the water, we didn't come back till four days. There was no land anywhere. You're probably saying, "Leroy, nobody can fish for 24 hours a day for four days." Yes, they can. You try to get a little bit of sleep, and you hear somebody say, "Fish on." Man, you get up and like, "I'm going to catch one, too." So, four days of full fishing right there.
The deckhand, deckhand takes us we're leaving the ports, leaving the dock area. The deckhand takes his net, throws the net out. The net descends, and he pulls in tons of bait fish. He just continues to do that. Throws out the net, it descends. You bring in bait fish. And man, we're looking. This is going to be a good four days.
He was able to do that because he knew how to toss the net. He knew how to cast the next. Because if you cast it awkwardly and unevenly, the net hits the water. It spits water, makes splashes, and it scatters the fish. But if you throw it gently, you throw it nice, and it opens up, and it lands on the water, it descends, and you're able to bring in more fish.
Let me ask you something. How is your gospel net being cast? Is your gospel net being cast in a manner that doesn't scatter people or is it cast in a manner that actually attracts people? You see, some people will have a gospel net cast for millions of people. You think of the likes of Bill Graham likes that write millions. Others will have a gospel net cast for hundreds of thousands or thousands. And others maybe hundreds. And others maybe 10s. And others maybe one. Though, let's be honest, I don't think anyone's going to fall into the one category. No one's going to fall into the one category at all.
When I think of all the believers out here and online, I would imagine, if you thought about it, you are probably in the thousands, if not tens of thousands. You're like, "What?" You're probably in the thousands and tens of thousands probably very, very easily. I mean, think of the places that you typically engage and you encounter people every week where you work, where you play, where you shop, where you educate, where you basically are doing life, where your voice has influence because of your presence, places where you can take Jesus and put him on display. Remember, when you talk about influence, there's good influence and bad influence, too. We always think good. No. There's good and bad influence. What are you putting on display to people, good influence or bad influence, when it comes to putting Jesus on display?
For example, you think about your neighborhood, right? Forget the neighborhood. Not literally, but let's take a smaller chunk. Let's not even take your block. Let's take five houses to the right, five houses to the left on both sides of the street. See, this is that looks like. This looks like this for me. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, but they just sold their house, so I can say that that doesn't count. But, here's the deal where intentionality comes in. They just sold that house. So the day a moving truck pulls up there, who should be the first person there with pizza, some water, and ready to serve them, right? Intentionality.
So that's just 25 to the right, and that's probably the same going across the street and to the left as well. So just within a stone's throw this way and this way, there's 100 people within a stone's throw of me that I have an opportunity to put the gospel on display at any given time just there. So, what does that look like for you in where you live? You see where this hundreds can turn into thousands really quickly when you then take into consideration the school that you might go to, or where you might work? There might be 500 people where you work. The civic club that you might belong to. How about your kids? Maybe you have multiple kids, and they're on a soccer team, so you got that soccer team of kids that you might be coaching. You have their parents and their friends that come. You see where this all the sudden gets to be like, "Hold on a second here. This is big, Leroy. There's a gospel influence that I can have on people that is way, way bigger.
But, here's what I want you to do. I don't want you to get all squirrelly on me, right? Because let me say this, you are not their savior. Let's be real clear about that. You are not their savior. But, you cannot underestimate what it is to be the ambassador for Jesus Christ when you are with people. There's nothing you can do but just be the gospel of Jesus Christ so you can really see how quickly your gospel net can get to tens of thousands of people.
See, remember, when you cast your net, you got to cast your net in a manner that attracts people and not in a manner that actually scatters people. So maybe how we so passionately talk about all the stuff that goes on in the world right now, maybe how passionately we talk about that on the internet, and your Facebook accounts, and Twitter, all that other kind of stuff, maybe that is actually scattering people versus attracting people. Because Sunday after church we might put a post out that's got a great scripture, some roses, some waterfalls, and a beautiful brook. But by Wednesday, it's now venom and discontent. I'm just saying. If it's not you, it's not you. But, maybe that's scattering people and not attracting people at all.
Now, casting a gospel net, though, is going to look different in all of our different circles of influence because we move in and out in different places and different people groups all the time at work, and at school, and at home. They're different groups and different people, and that's okay. But see, the core of the gospel doesn't change, but maybe how we end up packaging that to the different groups that we might be spending time with, maybe that does change a little bit, but the core does not change that people see love. They see kindness. They see gentleness. They see authenticity. They see patience. They see compassion. They see that no matter where you are, but it might look a little bit different when you're with a different person. And that's perfectly okay because we have to be all things to all people for the sake of the gospel. There's some scripture about that as well.
I want you to take a look at my buddy here, Jake. Yeah, see. Look at that. Lake Ontario fishing is awesome. That's my buddy Jake. And there's probably about a 25 year difference between Jake and myself. And if you put Jake next to me and we're out and about, you would probably say, "What on earth drew the two of you together?" I need an oil change? I saw his car. It was filthy, but it was filthy with a lot of fishing gear. Jake has more camo, more ammo, more guns, more bow and arrows, more fishing rods than any one person should ever have. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Cabela's, they called Jake when they need to place an order. That is just the amount of stuff that my buddy Jake has. But, God has placed us in our lives together for the past 10 years. There've been times we would sit in Panera Bread and go through the Bible and some verses to help him to understand what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
So, the gospel looks different on the external when I'm with Jake, but the heart of the gospel is the same. Jake calls me up and asks me things over the years about stuff going on in life that I know he's not calling other people asking for. I know that. And I know he's expecting to hear the answers that I'm sharing with him. So, God's me in this kid's life, and I'm going to do all that I can whenever I can to continue to present the gospel so that .. Hey, I know he's heard it, but what next? What next? What next? Going to continue to do that. Hopefully he'll take me out fishing this week.
Check this next one out. Yeah, those skateboards again, right? So about four years ago, maybe three or four years ago, we were doing a chapter of fight club and wanting to kind of go out into the community, and I met this kid out skating at LaSalle Park. I said, "Let me stop at Sunday Skateshop up on Grant Street and get a nice board. I got mine. I'm going to get one, too." Most of the kids out there aren't really skating on some really good boards.
So, I bought one. I go hang out at the park, skating around for a little bit. Sit down and grab them all together and kind of chat for a little bit, share a little bit about the gospel without scattering, right? Because the last thing they want to hear is somebody talking all this Jesus stuff at a skateboard park. But what I was talking, they were listening. And after having a few moments of sharing with him, we did a little contest. I said, "Hey, man. This deck is somebody's now." And this was the kid that got that deck.
Here's just how some of these things come together. Because the kid that got that deck right there, my daughter, her boyfriend, I met him just last, maybe October, November. I met him. Hey, Josh. This is Leroy. Leroy, this is Josh. He's like, "I know that guy." Me he's talking about. "I was at the park the day that he gave that board to my friend." You talk about saying, "Hey, if I was casting a bad net, that may not been what he had said." So there now is an interaction that I need to play into to see what now we can do with this interaction because of that right there.
That's just some of the intentionality. But, the core of the gospel stays the same, but what it looks like to the different people groups that we're around, we have to kind of manipulate that a little bit. Not the gospel, but the people that we're talking to so that we're saying things that attract them and not scatter them.
Look at what Paul's writing in Colossians 4. "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim that as clearly as I should. Be wise in the way you act towards other. Make the most of every opportunity." And here's the opportunity. "Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone."
In our men's community group, one of the conversations that comes up a great deal of times, it's around our interactions with people. All of our interactions with people should leave us in a position of being able to share the gospel if the Spirit prompts it. Because the Spirit doesn't always prompt us to share the gospel with someone, but the Spirit will always, always prompt us to be the gospel. So, how do we be the gospel with the people that we're with? And what does that look like for you? What does being the gospel look like with your family, and your friends, and your neighbors, and your coworkers, and your teachers, and your professors, and your classmates, and your roommates, and your teammates, and your server, and the person that's selling you something or your Amazon delivery person? They're coming every day. What does that look like for you?
I can see the emails coming already. What does the gospel look like when I let people know that, "Hey, listen, you know what? I love you way more than I hate this silly mask. But guess what? I'm putting it on? I'm putting it on anyway." Because if it's a demonstration of love to someone else, I let nothing get in the way of that, not even a silly mask. So what does that look like for you? That our interaction should be worthy of the calling that we have upon our lives, leaving opportunities to share the gospel, leaving little good seeds along the way, and maybe even some tilling in those relationships with those people that we have those interactions with.
Because you know what? The person that I might be talking to, the person that I might be able to be the gospel with may be someone that Mike sees one day so that I plant some good gospel seeds so that when Mike meets him, or Brian meets him, or Laura meets this individual that they can plant some good gospel seeds as well. Then, this individual might begin to see, hey, there is something about this thing here. There's something about these people? What is it? And when they find out it's Jesus, ah, I think I've seen him many, many places because of the way that we've presented ourself, the way that we've cast our net to people and not scattered them but loved them right where they are.
So, think about that when you're with someone. There's another Christian that somewhere along the long is praying that we will plant some good seeds and not do things to scatter this individual when they may be the one to have an opportunity to actually speak the gospel because the Spirit prompts them to do it.
We're going to close here with another verse in 2 Timothy 4. "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge. Preach the word. Be prepared in season and out of season. Correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction, for the time will come when people will not put up with a sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."
Sounds pretty common right now. But, you keep your head in all situations. Endure hardship. Do the work of an evangelist. Discharge all of the duties of your ministry. Folks, if you're a follower of Jesus Christ, you are in ministry, period. You are in ministry. We've got some work to do. So while Jesus will return one day and the righteous and the unrighteous will be separated from one another, until he returns, until he returns, let us be with other people. Let us daily follow Jesus and compel others to do the same.
Why don't we take a moment and go before the Lord in prayer? If you would, just kind of close your eyes and bow your head if you would, please. And if you don't have to move, I would ask you to kind of rest where you are. We'll be gone in just a moment. Folks online as well. Don't get up and run to the restroom now because you know what's about to happen. Rest where you are. And if you're a follower of Jesus Christ, I would just pray that you would begin to pray for all of those who have a decision to make about Jesus Christ right now. So, I just pray that you would pray for those folks right now.
Listen, if you have never surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, if you've never placed your faith, and your hope, and your trust in him, understand this: There is no greater need that you have than the need for Jesus Christ. Yeah, you may need a job, and you may need a car, and you may need a place to live, and all of those other things. I get it. We get it. But, your greatest need is the need of a savior, Jesus Christ. And that God loved you so much that He sent His Son to take the penalty that you could never pay for. The debt that you owe, astronomical. You could never pay that. That's why God loves you so much that He sent His Son that none would perish, that those would come to faith in Jesus Christ and place their faith, their hope, and their trust in him.
And it's my prayer and it's the prayer of every believer that if I just described you that you haven't yet done that that you would do that today. Not tomorrow, not next week, while you have the mental capacity right here, right now to accept Jesus Christ. We've made it really easy for you to do that in a couple different ways. If you're here at the Cheektowaga Campus when we're done here in just a moment, you could just go out to the orange tables, and the lobby will have a prayer partner there. We'll have some Bibles there as well and a booklet that we can share with you on some next steps to take as a new believer in Jesus Christ. We can do that safely, socially distanced apart. Don't worry about that. We can do that.
Or maybe it's easier for you or better for you so you can go to, and this is anyone anywhere, you can go to thechapel.com/knowingjesus. Pastor Johnathan Drake will walk you through a few things there as well that I just spoke about. Or you could just call (716) 631-2636. We have some prayer partners who are there that will walk you through those same things again. So, we've made it really, really easy for you to do that. We just pray that you would do that today.
So Father, we thank you so much for today. Thank you for all that you have shared with us this morning. I appreciate and so grateful, God, of how you helped me through the week and the preparation. And I pray, dear Lord, that you were present also in the presentation that hearts and minds, wherever they may be and however they came in the building this morning, wherever they're listening to us from, that their hearts may be changed not by my words, Lord, but by the words that you shared with them this morning, Father.
So as we leave here today, Lord, we pray that all the believers that we would have a gospel net that is just wide. And wherever that net goes, Lord, that we would attract and not scatter those, Father, and to be able to help walk them into understanding what it is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and that he would be their Lord and savior. So Father, we thank you so much. We love you, and we praise you. In Jesus' holy and precious name we pray. Amen.